Northernaires Drum & Bugle Corps - Present and Past Page
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Present and Past

Bill King memorial service plaque

November 18, 1923 - July 3, 2005

Bill King, founder and director of the Northernaires, "Mr. Northernaire", passed away, on July 3, 2005. He was half friend and half father to everyone who ever passed through the ranks of the Northernaires. He will be greatly missed. Read Bill's story from Menominee Remembered 2004.

On This Page

Northernaires Take First Arena Corps Competition

The Northernaires Arena Corps captured first place in their very first Arena Corps competition held in Fond du Lac, WI. on March 22, 2009. The day before, at Drums In The North, the corps put on an exhibition as we were the host corps for the inaugural Small Drum Corps Association (SDCA) event. You can read the EagleHerald newspaper article regarding our win in Fond du Lac here. Pictures from Drums In The North and the Fond du Lac event are in our Photo Archive or just click here. You can also read the SDCA Staff Review article that appeared in Drum Corps World.

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Lest We Forget

This page is dedicated to all those who, through their blood, sweat, and tears made the Northernaires the successful and fun organization that it was. May they remain forever in our memories. View page.

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Where Are We?

We've started tracking where our alumni have landed in their lives. If you're interested, take a look at the map. If you are a Northernaires alum and you haven't been included on our map yet, drop a line to
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and we'll add a pin for you.

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Northernaires Trivia

Take a look at this page and see some of the little known, obscure, or otherwise minutiae of the Northernaires during their 20 year existence. If you know something about the Northernaires that you consider a little known fact, send it to
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. Now, view our trivia page.

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Bill King's Memoirs

Bill King was the founder of the Northernaires Drum and Bugle Corps and its business manager from 1953 through 1968. Before his passing, he wrote his memoirs, which traced the history of the corps' 20 year existence. Our intention is to make much of Bill's memoirs available on this website so that they can be shared by all alumni and friends of the Northernaires. This is a huge project as his memoirs include much additional material such as newspaper articles, pamphlets, etc. that he collected over those years. We will keep you informed as new installments are added. Thanks go out to Dean Hoffman for securing permission to post Bill's memoirs from the Menominee Historical Society Museum and to John Schneider for doing all the pre-production work (scanning and cleaning up). Special thanks go to the Menominee Historical Society Museum, without whose permission, we would not be able to make Bill's life work available to you. Bill King's Memoirs and Addendum to Bill King's Memoirs

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Life After 1973

Much has been written about the history of the Northernaires from 1953 through 1973. Many people believe those 20 years were the life of the junior corps and that an active corps ceased to exist after that period. 1953 - 1973 certainly was the heydey for the Northernaires competitive junior corps but it wasn't the end. The corps never officially folded as a legal entity and continued to re-emerge and re-invent itself in different configurations between 1976 and 1985 as they struggled to stay alive. Thanks to Chris Wellner, we now have a window into that post 1973 period. Read on.

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Northernaires Performance History

This is a history of the Northernaires performances and parades from 1954 through 2010. It was compiled by Chris Wellner and, although not complete, gives a good representation of the corps activities.

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Did You Know?

Raise your hand if you thought that the Northernaires were the only drum & bugle corps to come out of the twin cities? It's obvious from that loaded question that you'd be wrong if you raised your hand. Thanks to Mike Dugan, we have proof positive that we were not the first. His mother-in-law, 91 years young, was cleaning out some boxes and found a picture postcard. Take a look at this picture of the Teddy Budlong Post No. 39, Marinette Legion Drum & Bugle Corps taken at the Wisconsin State Legion Convention in Wausau in 1928. They came in 3rd. They also competed in the 1929 national convention in Louiseville, KY., where they didn't make the cut (top 15 out of 110 corps competing) but they did get to play their program over WHAS, a local Louisville radio station.

That same Teddy Budlong Post No. 39 started a Boy Scout Drum & Bugle Corps in the winter of 1928-29 which had 40 members. I could find no mention of how long the American Legion Corps or the Boy Scout Corps existed.

So, there you have it. The Northernaires were actually the third drum & bugle corps to come out of the twin cities of Menominee and Marinette.

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Video Remembrance 1955 - 1967

In 1993, Bill King put together a video of the Northernaires from pieces of 8 mm tapes that he had acquired. These 8 mm tapes were taken between 1955 and 1967 by Joyce and Scotty Bertrand, the Durow family, Dot and George Roetzer, and the Evans family. The video is 13 minutes long. To view the video, Click here.

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Flag Replicas

This picture has been framed and placed in the Menominee County Historical Museum and also sent to Bill's sister, who made the original flags and the replicas for our 50th anniversary.

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Eagle Hearld Story

In honor of the corps 50 year anniversary in 2003, the following article appeared in the EagleHerald newspaper.

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Museum Exhibit

The Northernaires were a hugh part of the culture and fabric of Menominee during their existence from 1953 to 1973. Each year many alumni return to Menominee for the Waterfront Festival where they march in the parade and, afterwards, put on a concert by the bandshell in downtown Menominee. You can view the exhibit recalling the Northernaires on display in the Menominee County Historical Museum.

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Northernaires Recordings

Listen to the Northernaires from various years. Reminisce while listening to contests from 1957 through 1973. Yes, that's me with the offending blooper coming out of concert in the 1963 standstill. I cannot tell a lie. Right click the file and save it to your hardrive or, if your browser has the Quicktime plugin installed, just left click the file. These are all MP3 files.
Northernaires 1957 South Milwaukee Spectacle of Music, 13.1 MbNorthernaires 1966 Ishpeming, 12.6 Mb
Northernaires 1958 South Milwaukee Spectacle of Music, 10.9 MbNorthernaires 1967 Racine, 13.0 Mb
Northernaires 1959 Unknown, 11.3 MbNorthernaires 1968 Unknown, 10.9 Mb
Northernaires 1962 Appleton, 11.0 MbNorthernaires 1969 Unknown, 11.4 Mb
Northernaires 1963 Ishpeming, 11.4 MbNorthernaires 1970 Michigan State AL prelims,
Grand Rapids, 8.9 Mb
Northernaires 1965 Racine, 12.9 MbNorthernaires 1971 Legion Nationals,
Houston, TX., 10.8 Mb
Northernaires 1965 Michigan State AL,Northernaires 1972 Eau Claire, 11.7 Mb
Lansing, 27.5 Mb
Northernaires 1973 Horicon Marsh Days Show, 7/29/1973.
Lloyd Pesola doing " GE brass." 12.3 Mb

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Parade Video

Click on Video clip of corps playing Bull Fighter at the beginning of the 2004 parade.

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Menominee Remembered

The Northernaires are a featured theme in the 2004 edition of Menominee Remembered. This is an annual publication of the 8th grade language arts classes at Menominee Middle School.

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A Drum Corps and a Weekend

As a freshmen in college in 1970, Mark Quick wrote an english composition about a couple of days in his life and the circumstances surrounding the Northernaires quest for their 1967 V.F.W. State title at Sault Ste. Marie. For those of us who ever marched in a drum and bugle corps, it will stir your emotions and awaken memories of the times we all spent on the road. Read it here. This is a PDF file and requires a PDF reader such as Adobe®Acrobat®Reader®DC in order to display it.

Free Adobe®Reader®DC software can be downloaded here from the Adobe website.

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Drum Corps World Article

Read the following article which appeared in the June 11, 2004 issue of Drum Corps World. Menominee Northernaires Remembered.

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Drum Corps Poem

Here's a poem written by Thomas Hayes, a drummer from the Troy, N.Y. area. It looks at drum corps during the time of the Northernaires (pre-1973 DCI) and contrasts them to the current version of DCI corps. Ah, to be able to wax poetic. Read on!.

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